Friends of the Old Dominion University Libraries

FoL Newsletter January 2008

Dedication to an Author and Poet
by FoL Board Member Lisa Suhay

In this issue we pay homage to someone whose literary flair has gone unheralded in our own midst, while being celebrated throughout the world, by dedicating this issue to Old Dominion University's Poet President Roseann Runte.

ODU President Rosanne Runte

While most readers of the local newspapers know President Runte bakes a mean cookie, loves orchids, supports women's studies and speaks French fluently, her literary gifts have seldom been brought to light.

Dr. Runte’s works have been translated into English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Romanian. While much of her writing is poetry, she is also noted for her works on cultural studies, with emphasis on the role of women in society.

She has been awarded the Order of Canada, the French Order of Merit, fellowship in the Royal Society, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the Palmes Académiques and a prize from the Académie Française.

On January 7, 2008 President Runte announced she will become president of Carleton University in Ottawa. She will take office there on July1, 2008. Although she will no longer be here in body, her presence will always be found in the pages she graces in our libraries. While she can be replaced, Roseann Runte will not be equaled as a dynamic, complex, vibrant poet and presence.

Selections currently available at ODU include:

  • Brumes bleues : poèmes / Roseann Runte.: General Coll./Floor 4; PQ3919.2.R86 B78 1982 ; c1982
  • Faux-soleils : poèmes-pensées / Roseann Runte.: General Coll./Floor 4; PQ3919.2.R86 F25 1984 ; c1984
  • La Fontaine's heritage : his reputation and influence on eighteenth-century France / by Roseann Runte.: General Coll./Floor 4; PQ1812.R86 L3 2000
  • Oralité et littérature: actes du XIème Congrès de l'Association internationale de littérature compa / édité par Hans R. Runte et Roseann Runte (Orality and literature : proceedings of the XIth Congress): General Coll./Floor 4; PN858 .I572 1985; c1991

Other Books by Roseann Runte:

  • Birmanie Blues suivi de Voyages à l'intérieur [collection of poems] (Toronto: Éditions du GREF, 1993). Reviewed in French Review 68, 5 (April 1995), pp. 913-914.
  • Poeme, in romaneste de Dorin Ghisa [translation of Brumes bleues and Faux-Soleils] (Timisoara, Editura Hestia, 1994), 147 p.

Dream Catchers
by Roseann Runte

A slow cotton-wadding day
Dawns on the parched soil
Of unspun dreams, lazing abed
Grasping rapidly evaporating gems
While tempus fugit.

That fragile light of a Southern morn
Observed through the branches of a dogwood
Blooms white heat, scented of jasmine.

The spider, suspended from his evening's art
Shimmers in the sun, awaiting the object of his desire.
The web hums with a slight drawl
As it trembles in the dew,
A metronome, ever so gently
Marking time.

Small Town Ghosts in August
by Roseann Runte

Hotter than hot
An August dog day
Unwinds around the
Corner of Main and Plume,
Wafts through the Bagel shop,
Lazes by fountains
Competing with the clatter
Of cars on cobblestone.
Humidity weighs heavily like the oozy
Bottom of Mr. Jack's fish tank.
The occasional bee hovers like a drunken sailor
Near the velvet-leafed geranium.
Such is the heat,
Ms. Smith extracts her antique lace doily
From the deep, dark, secret recesses
Of her heaving bosom to wipe
Her brow. "Oh my," she says daintily
As Mr. Jones slowly pedals his
Bicycle into the brick wall
Of the Virginia Club where
General Lee scowls with
Permanent panache from
His sweaty panel.
Ink runs down the Pilot page
Before the news can be read.
But there was not much to tell.
Mr. Jones' accident occurred after deadline.
Besides, the wall was not damaged.

Save the Date

That’s February 19. The FOL hosts Maryanne Wolf, author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain,” one of the most thought-provoking books in recent times. A professor of child development at Tufts University, Wolf explores such questions as “Is the ability to read in our DNA?” and “How did reading evolve?” If you love reading, this is a can’t miss evening. Stay tuned for more details.

Literacy Focus for Friends in 2008

A major goal of the Friends of the Old Dominion University Libraries in 2008 is to increase literacy and foster a love of reading in our young people. We asked two prominent local authors and Friends members to share their thoughts on the subject.

Saying “Read” Isn’t Enough
Despite the phenomenon of such books as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, statistics indicate that young children aren’t reading. At least not like they used to in the old days.

Readership of young people has been on the decline since Nancy Drew was solving mysteries and Chip Hilton was scoring all those touchdowns. It leaves those of us who love books asking, “How do we get youngsters to become lifelong readers?”

Lisa Suhay has four boys, ages 4 to 14, and they are all readers. Willing readers. She claims she doesn’t hold a gun to their heads. (Suhay, author of eight children’s books, was the guest speaker at the Friends Fall Forum in November.)

“You can’t just hand a kid a book and say ‘read,’” says Suhay, who latest book, Pardon Me, It’s Ham, not Turkey (Bumble Bee Productions), tells the story that the real first Thanksgiving took place in Virginia. “You are competing against video games and all the multi-media facets out there,” she says. “For many of us, reading was our only escape. If you want a child to read, give him something that relates to his life. Maybe the book deals with a problem he’s been struggling with.”

Suhay also urges selecting books that are ‘alive” with real people. Part of the success of C.S Lewis’ and Rowling’s books is that readers can identify with the characters.

It all starts with reading to children when they are young. But parents and teachers need to continue participating as the children get older. “Make what they are reading visual,” says Suhay. If your child has read a book about railroads or the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac, visit a railroad station, take the youngster to the Mariners’ Museum to see the Monitor’s turret.

“We not winning the reading battle,” says Suhay, ‘but we can turn things around.”

Don’t Treat Teen Readers as Kids
As many parents and teachers know, you can lead a teenager to a book, but getting him to read it is another thing.

One of the reasons you don’t find many teenagers burrowing into books they can’t put down, says Norfolk author Michael D’Orso, is many “teen books” underestimate their readers, writing down to them.

D’Orso’s Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe, and A High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska (Bloomsbury, $23.95) was recently selected a 2007 Alex Award winner by the Young Adult Library Services Association as one of 10 adult books that will appeal to teens. (YALSA is a division of the American Library Association.)

Eagle Blue is D’Orso’s 15th book. (Mike will be the featured speaker at our annual dinner this spring.)

Eagle Blue takes readers on a journey above the Arctic Circle to Fort Yukon, to follow the fortunes of the high school hoop team, the pride and joy of the community. They also get a history lesson about Alaska, the Inuit Indian culture and what it’s like to live in a place where the temps plummet to 60 below and it’s dark 20 hours a day.

“Teens want to be treated as adults and not condescended to,” says D’Orso, who was a high school English teacher and frequently speaks to high school and college students on the art of writing. “They also want to read about people like themselves dealing with the same kind of issues they deal with,” says D’Orso, “issues such as self-worth, identity and a sense of belonging.”

D’Orso’s message is pretty simple: If you give a teenager a book that doesn’t treat him like a kid and he can emotionally relate to it, he’s going to have a hard time putting it down.
As Mike says, “To quote that famous philosopher, Shaquille O’Neal, ‘You can’t fake the funk.’” Especially with a teen.

For the complete list of Alex Award winners, go to

Welcome Aboard

We are happy to announce two additions to the Old Dominion University Libraries staff. Frederick (Rob) Tench is the new Acquisitions and Preservation Services Librarian. Rob comes from the Newport News Public Library, where he headed Technical Services. He holds an M.A. in Library Science from the Catholic University of America.

The new Special Collections Librarian, Sonia Yaco, earned an M.A. in Library and Information Services, with a specialization in archives and records administration, from the University of Wisconsin. She previously served as Reference Archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Books Bring in Bucks

The annual University Libraries’ book sale this fall brought in $3,136, to be exact. The money was used to provide ODU Bookstore gift certificates for student library workers who demonstrated excellent service. The awards were presented at a holiday luncheon on Dec.6. Thanks to everyone who contributed books, time and effort to make the sale a success.

Net Gain for FOL

With the help of a pair of dead-eye free throw shooters and ESPN 1310 Radio our "Baskets for Books" night netted $400. Former ODU hoopsters Cal Bowdler and Mike Byers combined to sink 16 free throws during halftime at a recent ODU game against James Madison. ESPN 1310 Radio donated $25 for each made shot.

The Friends also benefited from a portion of certain ticket sales, which totaled $330.

The Friends of the Old Dominion University Library Newsletter is published quarterly.
Editors: Fred Kirsch and Lisa Suhay